A Message from Pope Francis
My heart aches greatly at the worsening situation in Ukraine. Despite the diplomatic efforts of the last few weeks, increasingly alarming scenarios are opening up. Like me, many people all over the world are feeling anguish and concern. Once again the peace of all is threatened by partisan interests. I would like to appeal to those with political responsibility to examine their consciences seriously before God, who is the God of peace and not of war; who is the Father of all, not just of some, who wants us to be brothers and not enemies. I pray that all the parties involved refrain from any action that would cause even more suffering to the people, destabilizing coexistence between nations and bringing international law into disrepute.
And now I would like to appeal to everyone, believers and non-believers alike. Jesus taught us that the diabolical senselessness of violence is answered with God’s weapons, with prayer and fasting. I invite everyone to make next 2 March, Ash Wednesday, a Day of Fasting for Peace. I encourage believers in a special way to dedicate themselves intensely to prayer and fasting on that day. May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war.
A Message from Rich & Shannon
On Wednesday March 16th at 6 pm, and Saturday March 19th at 10 am, we will have listening sessions at our parish in response to the call of our Holy Father, Pope Francis. He wants to hear from every one in every parish worldwide. He is truly a Pope of the people and while previous popes have listened to the input of Bishops, and Bishops in some cases have sought input from a select few, Francis wants to be the most inclusive of all-you, me, the disillusioned, the fallen away, the non-church goer, the homeless, the hurting, as well as those whose experience has been joy filled.
It is our opportunity to share our disappointments with the church, our joys with the church, and our hopes for the church going forward. It is our opportunity to really make a difference in the future or our church. Our Holy Father will be seeking guidance for the future of the church from the Holy Spirit through the collective voices of Catholics worldwide. Your input really matters. So if you haven’t signed up for a listening session yet, please do so. If the two dates and times don’t work for you, please sign up anyway and let us know by clicking on "reply" so we can schedule other sessions more accommodating for you.
And we are sure you know others you can encourage to sign up --- those who come to church and those who don’t; those isolated, or shut in, or who may have left the church, non-Catholic spouses, and others who have experiences with the church. Pope Francis wants to hear from all of them and truly cares what they have to say, so don’t just pass the word. Personally invite them to share their experiences and hopes.
Finally, please pray for the Spirit to move the hearts of everyone to come forward. Feel free to send us names of anyone willing to sign up. And finally, please pass on this email to all you know.
A Message from Jane
Family, I don't purport to know more than our Papa Francesco or Rich and Shannon. But I do know this --- gathering 6-8 people in a small group is foundational to establishing a relationship-building connection. Unfortunately, our secular culture has succeeded in telling us how many other things we could be doing besides going to church. But I have witnessed when people go, they start recognizing faces and engaging with each other. Please don't think of our Parish Synod as another hard hurdle to get over. I understand that quite a few of you are opting NOT to participate because church leaders may not want to hear what you have to say. That's more reason for you to share those hurts and disappointments. While I don't blame you for thinking of this gathering as an effort in futility, I can promise that when you share what's in your heart and not just what's on your mind, your sharing is definitely worth making.
Sent by Jane Alfano